You may have come across websites that offer to provide visitors with generic legal documents. Sometimes for free. They want you to believe that the law is something that you can take into your own hands when it comes to planning your estate; that all you have to do is fill in the empty fields and everything is settled.
In reality, giving someone a basic form toolkit who has no knowledge of, or experience with, the fine points of creating an estate plan is worse than handing me a screwdriver and telling me, “go rebuild that engine.” This is one way to view do-it-yourself estate planning. To be blunt, and I could say this about me rebuilding that engine, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Let’s say, for example, you have someone in the family who has special needs and you want to provide something for this person after you pass away. However, this family member is receiving much needed government assistance. Could receiving the inheritance impact his or her eligibility for this assistance?
The answer is yes, but there are advanced estate planning techniques that can be utilized to allow for the benefits to continue while still providing something for the individual in question. Those do-it-yourself estate planning kits are not going to be sufficient in cases such as these.
Estate planning for blended families is another scenario that can require advanced techniques. And of course, minimizing your tax exposure can require the implementation of some rather complex strategies as well.
The key to a well-constructed estate plan is to retain a good Kansas City estate planning lawyer . You must be very forthcoming with your attorney about the specifics of your intentions, your assets, and your family dynamic. The experienced estate planning lawyer knows what questions to ask. You cannot get that from a will kit.
Once your lawyer understands all of the details of your unique situation he or she will be able to provide you with a finely crafted plan that is ideally constructed to suit your family’s needs.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday